About Overhauls Site, Employs Behavioral Targeting
About's site overhaul employs dynamic page creation and behavioral targeting to capture user interests. The site will automatically publish customized pages that link relevant content with matching targeted advertising.
The move also reflects the trend toward consumer control taking place across all media. "What we are all going through is a shift from publisher-driven media to consumer-driven media," says Peter Horan, CEO-About.com. "Tivo is giving people headaches. Google is a great thing, and a source of heartburn for print and Web publishers. Publishers used to have control of the content, over the frequency of publishing--control over the pipeline," Horan notes.
The shift also inaugurates About's relationship with Tacoda Systems; it began working with the provider of behavioral marketing solutions a month ago. About already deploys cookies on its site, but the Tacoda relationship will enable it to go farther in identifying readers' interests delivering appropriate advertising. The site overhaul is also a play to deepen About's relationships with advertisers. Horan says About is on the cusp of announcing new and bolder sponsorship opportunities whereby a leading marketer in any given category can "own" a channel. There are also new content relationships in the offing.
About attracts 20 million unique visitors per month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Sixty-five percent of the audience is women. About covers more than 50,000 consumer topics via 23 content channels with the expertise of more than 475 personal guides.
Nearly 30 percent of visitors come to the consumer information portal via search engines--and the percentage is growing, according to Horan. Consumers often "don't come to us through the front door," Horan says, which made it all the more necessary for About to streamline its look and navigation. The re-design was handled by Catalyst, New York, and internal teams at About.
"By creating a model that understands user preferences and behavior, we are able to fill the gap left open by traditional search. We have the ability to identify specific market segments and target them instantly, even on their first visit," Horan comments.